Five persons feared killed as voter apathy spread in Rivers - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Saturday, March 18, 2023

Five persons feared killed as voter apathy spread in Rivers

 At least, five persons have been feared killed in Rivers State during the Saturday's Governorship and State House of Assembly elections in the state.

Although, one of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Tony Okocha, commended process, adding that process was peaceful.

Hon. Emmanuel Deeyah, corroborated that the process was seamless, but not for some illicit acts by some persons in the area. He noted the secuity personnel were immediately called for intervention.

Two deaths were reported in Bori, Khana Local Government Area, while three persons claimed in Ogbakiri Community, Emohua LGA.

This is as empty polling units, ballot boxes snatchings, fake result sheets, non availability of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS, password, harassment of voters and other irregularities were recorded in parts of the state.

Three persons are feared killed in Ogbakiri Community, Emohua Local Government Area while unidentified gunmen invaded Elibrada Community in the same LGA shooting sporadically.

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC, Chief Emeka Beke, who after casting his vote at ward three Elibrada Community, Emohua LGA, said the development was worrisome.

Beke noted that the three victims were with a sitting with lawmaker in the state and had hijacked a ballot boxes before the military come in.

He said the three were killed in the process they were attempting to make away with the sensitive material.

Beke said: "Today three people were killed in Ogbakiri. They were with the serving lawmaker, Sam Oge. They were hijacking snatching ballot boxes and they were killed. The governor said he is popular then while the ballot boxes snatchings?

Also, there was heavy shooting at Bori, the headquarters of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, and two people are feared killed in the development.

This was as voters who are in deep regrets over alleged fake material in the LGA said took to protest.

One of the voters, Jeremiah Precious, narrated that the people were protesting that the material meant for Khana LGA should be brought out before police invaded with heavy shooting.

He said that some boys in the area challenged the police personnel, causing panic in the LGA and that the police shot two people.

Precious said: "Today, we came out to vote and we noticed that the material they brought to us are fake. They are from Ikwerre LGA.

"Because of this we matched out to protest. The real material have been sent to the homes of PDP leaders and the are there writing results. While we are protesting, police came and started shooting at us."

Amaechi expresses regrets over polls

The leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the state and the former Governor of the state who voted at his Ward 8, Unit 14, Ubima Community, Ikwerre Local Government Area, expressed displeasure with the process.

Amaechi, who is the immediate past Minister of Transportation stated that even though the election was peaceful in his community that there are reports of arrest of candidates of the APC for the polls.

Amaechi also alleged that the materials brought for the election at his unit were fake, but that they decided to vote in order to allow peace reign.

This is, however, coming as it was alleged that the APC Candidate for Ahoada East State Constituency 2 seat in the polls, Ukalikpe Napoleon, has been kidnapped.

Abe describes poll as worst in history

The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Magnus Abe, has described the poll worst in all elections conducted in the state.

Abe regretted that over 40 persons, who are mainly his supporters have been arrested and detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Port Harcourt, adding that their offence was that they refused to take bribe

Abe said: "I have voted and I want to make a few observations about this election here in Rivers State. The report I am getting all across the state is that this election is turning not to be different from past elections. 

"In fact it is worse. In several parts of the state people are being beaten, harassed and prevented from candidate of their choice, but rather being forced to vote for the PDP.

"I several places they have said if you are not coming to vote for PDP don't even come out. This is done openly. Many places in Ogoni, the material brought is not even meant for Ogoni. 

"You have ballot papers from Ikwerre being brought here. You have BVAS machines with number of accredited voters in it being brought here being forced on the people. You police and soldiers going from place to place hijacking material and taken to PDP chieftain houses.

"Yesterday, we went to the police, over 40 Ogoni boys have been arrested between yesterday night and this morning. They are in State CID. There offence is that they refused to accept morning to allow rigging of the election."

While voters didn't turning up

Wosu Chikanka Prince an agent of one of the political parties for the election said the electoral officers were ready since 8:00am, but that there are no voters.

He said the reason could be as a result of fear and the incident of the 25th February, where people's will were thwarted.

Prince said: "It is like what happened on the presidential election where people voted and the result was changed has made them not to come out. They don't have interest to vote because they don't have confidence in INEC again"

EOs refuse to leave Rivers RACs over non availability of BVAS password

Meanwhile, Electoral Officers in Rivers State had refused to leave the Registration Area Centres, RAC, for their polling units over non availability of passwords for the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS.

The EOs particularly in RAC 12, Ward 12, Rumuigbo in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, said the RAC Technicians has refused to release the BVAS password insisting that the assess code for uploading of results must be given to them before they would leave for their units.

Speaking, the Assistant Presiding Officer (1) in one of the units in ward 12, Nsikak Okon, said there was disagreement between top officials of the RAC and the EO that would be leaving for the fields.

Okon said the RAC-Techs refused to give out the password ward for uploading of the results and is asking them to go to the units first.

He said: "We have been having altercation since morning because they refused to give out the passwords for the BVAS, exactly what they did the last time that landed a lot of us into trouble.

"Remember, there are two passwords, one is for opening of the System for accreditation and the other for uploading of the result. They gave us the first one, for accreditation but have refused to give us the one for upload.

"They are saying that they will send the password to us later, which means it under probability if it will come or not. They want us to come back to the collection centres for the upload. 

"This means that regulations of INEC is not being followed and this will put us into trouble at the field. As it is we are in God's hands."

Election suspended in Asari-Toru

However, election has been suspended at Asari-Toru LGA following non movement of INEC personnel and materials from the LGA RAC Centres in Buguma to the various voting areas.

One of the INEC Supervising Presiding Officer in charge of Asalga Ward 3, Dr Big Alabo Adokiye who confirmed the development said they await the decision of INEC in the state on information about rescheduling the elections in the area.

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